Pressed cuttlefish with parsley salad

Serves 6-8

This is a recipe that Damien Clisby, my head chef at the Tramshed, came up with. It's rather like a pressed octopus dish that you would find in Spain, where octupus is thinly sliced like a carpaccio. Cuttlefish, however, can be tricky to slice so just make sure you have a couple of slices for each serving.

500g cuttlefish (cleaned weight) and the main tube cut in half lengthways
500ml fish stock
1 tea cup of chopped parsley (about 30g)
2 leaves (6g) of leaf gelatine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salad

A handful of flat parsley leaves, washed and dried
1-2 large shallots, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
2tbsp capers, rinsed
1tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Put the cuttlefish in a saucepan with the fish stock, season, bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute then remove from the heat. Drain off most of the liquid into another saucepan and cover the first pan.

Simmer the excess liquid on a medium heat until you have just a couple of tablespoons left, then stir in the parsley and return to the heat for 30 seconds to infuse. Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for a couple of minutes, then squeeze out the water and stir into the hot reduced stock and parsley until dissolved. If the stock has cooled down you may need to just stir it on a low heat for a few seconds again.

Get a container such as a loaf tin, and line it with clingfilm. Remove the cuttlefish from the pan, drying it on some kitchen paper. Line the bottom of the loaf tin with pieces of cuttlefish, cutting them to fit.

Spoon some of the reduced parsley liquid over the cuttlefish then repeat the layering process until you have used up all of the cuttlefish. Fold the clingfilm over the top of it, then cut a piece of cardboard to fit on top of the cuttlefish, within the loaf tin. Put some weights on the cardboard – like jars – to press the cuttlefish, then refrigerate overnight.

Mix all of the parsley salad ingredients together with just enough oil to dress the leaves and season to taste. Remove the cuttlefish from the loaf tin and remove the clingfilm.

With a sharp knife cut the fish into 1cm slices and arrange two slices on each plate with a little pile of the salad and serve.

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